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By Theresa de Valence - Posted on 19 April 2014

The hardcover version of Steven Rigolosi’s THE OUTSMARTING OF CRIMINALS promises exquisite delights. Just holding the book in my hands I know I’m about to embark on a pastiche of amateur detective fiction. The cover simulates a beautiful pen and ink drawing, reminescent of the line drawings which preceded BBC’s Friday Night Mysteries. The pages are heavy and crisp and I’m sure I can hear violins.

You’d expect the protagonist to be a bright, strait-laced lady of uncertain years—but Miss Felicity Prim brings much more. She’s surprisingly open-minded for such a well-brought up person—possibly because she’s a New Yorker—but she does rather have a deliberate approach to life. Her literal-mindedness adds unexpected humour.

Bruno the dog is a treat.

The story proceeds apace. Some events are so preposterous that I’m certain the intention is tongue-in-cheek. Characters unselfconsciously screw up the plot. Miss Prim charges to the rescue. Characters behave more like themselves. Confusion ensues.

The plot of THE OUTSMARTING OF CRIMINALS is mind-bogglingly convoluted with a (long) laugh out loud conclusion, which I unhesitatingly proclaim that thou shalt never guess.

I was planning on giving this book to someone who’d appreciate it, but perhaps I’ll just keep it around so that I might re-read it when the mood strikes.

Miss Felicity Prim is a strong enough character for a series, so I hope Steven Rigolosi is listening.

Well done, sir.

by Steven Rigolosi
© 2014
Published by Ransom Note Press

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